XCEL Energy

InfluenceMap Score
D+
Performance Band
54%
Organisation Score
53%
Relationship Score
Modifications to InfluenceMap Scoring
Sector:
Utilities
Head​quarters:
Minneapolis, United States
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Xcel Energy appears to actively engage with climate and energy policy in the US with mixed positions. The company has advocated positively across various climate policy areas including renewable tax credits, but also appears to oppose some policy measures to promote distributed energy generation and to facilitate the transition of the energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Xcel has limited top-line messaging on climate policy and does not appear to have taken an explicit position on the Paris Agreement or the need to reduce GHG emissions in line with IPCC science. In a February 2021 Economist article, CEO Ben Fowke stated that the company prefers legislation over climate-related regulations as it is “not as subject to change.” In a June 2021 op-ed in Utility Dive, however, Fowke appeared to support US federal policies to respond to climate change.

Engagement with climate-related policy: Xcel and its subsidiaries appear to have engaged sporadically and with mixed positions on specific climate policies and regulations. While the company expressed concern with the cost impacts of carbon tax proposals in its 2019 CDP response, subsidiary Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo) generally supported legislation to implement a cost of carbon dioxide within utility resource planning in October 2019 comments to Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission.

Xcel demonstrates mixed positions on renewable energy policies. According to a November 2020 UtilityDive article, Xcel CEO Fowke criticized Biden’s proposed clean electricity target, calling the proposal a “moonshot.” The company described distributed energy generation policies as “hidden and unfair subsidies” in its 2019 Carbon Report, and as reported by the Washington Times, lobbied the Minnesota legislature to reduce or eliminate the state’s community solar program in July 2020. However, as part of a state coalition launched in March 2021, Xcel endorsed the development of a clean fuel standard in Minnesota. The company also supported the inclusion of renewable energy tax credits in the December 2020 federal stimulus package, as reported by the Star Tribune in 2021.

In 2018 comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Xcel did not appear to oppose the agency’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan; it did, however, advocate for a replacement rule with an emphasis on state authority and flexibility. Later that year, Xcel recommended that the EPA expand the definition of “best system of emissions reduction” (BSER) under the ACE rule, which would ultimately result in stronger potential for emissions reductions.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Xcel appears to generally support the transition of the energy mix, though with some exceptions. In its 2019 Carbon Report, the company communicated the need for government intervention to assist the phase out of coal in the energy mix, and in its 2019 CDP response, it stated support for policies that aid the development and uptake of clean energy technologies. However, Xcel appears to promote the importance of fossil gas in the energy mix, as reported by the Star Tribune in March 2021, without setting clear conditions on methane emissions abatement. The company does not appear actively engaged on clean transportation measures. However, in December 2019 comments to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, PSCo advocated for greater utility authority in electric vehicle deployment in the state.

Industry Association Governance: Xcel has disclosed a list of its memberships to industry associations but provides no further detail on these organizations’ climate policy positions, nor the company’s alignment with them on climate change. The company holds a board-level position on the American Clean Power Association, previously the American Wind Energy Association, a group actively supporting an ambitious climate agenda in the US. The company is also a member of the Edison Electric Institute, which demonstrates mixed positions on US climate policy, and the American Gas Association, which has assumed a more negative stance toward climate policy.

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
Main Web Site Social Media CDP Responses Legislative Consultations Media Reports CEO Messaging Financial Disclosures
Communication of Climate Science
1 NS NS NS NS NS 1
Alignment with IPCC on Climate Action
NS NS NA NS NS NS NS
Supporting the Need for Regulations
NS 1 NS 1 NS 1 NS
Support of UN Climate Process
NS NS NS NS NS NS NS
Transparency on Legislation
0 NA -2 NA NA NA NS
Carbon Tax
NS NS 0 NS NS NS NS
Emissions Trading
NS NS 0 -1 NS NS NS
Energy and Resource Efficiency
NS NS 2 1 NS NS NS
Renewable Energy
-1 2 -1 -1 0 0 NS
Energy Transition & Zero Carbon Technologies
1 1 1 0 1 0 NS
GHG Emission Regulation
-1 1 0 0 1 0 NS
Disclosure on Relationships
-1 NS -2 NA NA NA NS
Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
93%
 
93%
 
41%
 
41%
 
23%
 
23%
 
47%
 
47%
 
36%
 
36%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.